Work and Skills Skills for Growth

More than 10,000 residents in Greater Manchester have boosted careers through Skills for Growth

Skills for Growth logo   EU emblem and ESF logo

MORE than 10,000 residents in Greater Manchester have gained the skills they need to progress their careers thanks to the Skills for Growth programme.

Skills for Growth is celebrating this huge achievement after being granted funding through the European Social Fund for the three-year programme. Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has been using the funding to develop partnerships with businesses and training providers to create the learning opportunities needed for residents to further their careers, and for local business to fill skills gaps.

The programme launched during the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As Greater Manchester’s economy rebuilds and recovers, Skills for Growth is helping create a greener, fairer and more prosperous city-region through supporting individuals to upskill and reskill, and business to grow.

There are now more than 10,000 participants to date who have completed Skills for Growth courses, with individuals urged to take advantage of the fully funded training available. Skills for Growth has supported people from a variety of backgrounds - over 49% of learners were female, more than 20% from racially minoritised communities and 17% were over the age of 50.

Since the programme launched in 2020, 11 training providers have been commissioned to deliver a wide range of skills across Digital, Construction, Health and Social Care, Early Years, Allies in Cancer Care, Manufacturing, Logistics, Security, Green Skills, Media, Blue Light Services and other professional training opportunities.

Ibraheem Ahmad, 33, from Oldham, completed the digital course ‘Get hired as a UX Professional’ with Serco and the Coders Guild. This training led to him gaining a new role as a Business Analyst in a tech company earning a starting annual wage of £40K. The Skills for Growth programme has completely changed his career direction from the manufacturing sector to a career in tech.

Ibraheem said: “The programme has really made a difference to my life. I used to work in the manufacturing sector. Now I’m working in tech.

“The course helped me greatly and was pivotal in landing me the role. I am now a Business Analyst, and my job revolves around improving user experience. Colleagues in different units have all come to see me as a very useful and resourceful person. So, the benefit is not limited to me.

“The content of the course and the knowledge of the tutors are outstanding, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking toward personal development to drive their career forward. I simply couldn’t have done it without Skills for Growth.”

Throughout the programme the intelligence gathered from businesses about their skills and training requirements has been used to shape new provision, which means the solutions are truly unique, employer-led and fit for purpose.

Teaching staff at St. Joseph and St. Bede R.C. Primary School, in Bury, accessed a 3D printing course through Serco and 3D360.  The course has been designed to help learners develop skills in adaptive technologies and gives them the edge when delivering lessons across the school’s STEM curriculum. It also gives pupils an insight into the latest technologies and possible career paths for their future development.

Jane Myerscough, headteacher at St. Joseph and St. Bede R.C. Primary School said: “At St. Joseph and St. Bede R.C. Primary School we’re always thrilled to learn new ways to use technology and raise the profile of the computing curriculum.

“The 3D printing training makes it easy to adopt – if the training was more difficult it wouldn’t work as well for the teacher and students.

“I’ve been astounded at how much the students have loved the 3D printing program over the last four months. The profile of computing across the school has been raised and there is a buzz about 3D Printing. Teachers love using it to promote the four ‘Cs’ - Collaboration, Critical thinking, Communication and Creativity.”

Part of the Skills for Growth mission is to plug skills gaps in industries such as Health and Social Care and Blue Light Services. Partner provider Acorn Training has curated a specialised programme to tackle the ongoing challenges in the Health and Social Care sector, with a focus on encouraging progression in the industry and teaching technical skills to support staff.

Daniel Webb, 32, from Manchester who works at Abbeydale Nursing Home based in Eccles as a Health Care Assistant, completed Learning Disabilities Level 3 with Ashley Hunter Training Academy and Acorn training through the Skills for Growth programme. He said: “The Learning Disabilities Level 3 course has given me the knowledge that I needed to apply for jobs in the future. Support from the training provider has been great and made learning enjoyable.

“I really enjoyed researching the history of disabilities which has also improved my digital skills.

“I would highly recommend this programme to people who want to upskill and progress their career further.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester’s Skills for Growth programme is going from strength to strength with more than 10,000 employees in the city-region armed with in-demand skills to improve their careers. The programme also benefits employers by helping them to fill specific skills shortages and vacancies, increasing productivity within their organisations. 

“Having local control over funding for training programmes such as Skills for Growth, gives the city-region power to ensure our employment and skills system is matching the needs of our businesses with talent they can hire locally.

“The Skills for Growth programme has played a huge part in the creation of new opportunities, bridging skills shortages, and building our economy, but we can do more by making our region the first in the UK to have a fully integrated system of technical education.”

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Greater Manchester’s Lead for Education, Work, Skills, Apprenticeships and Digital, said: “I’m extremely proud Greater Manchester’s Skills for Growth has reached this significant milestone.

“We have experienced a rapid growth of demand for skilled workers from businesses in the city-region, ranging from digital to health and social care. As continuous learning and upskilling become key to the success of business and individuals, we will continue supporting employers with the most diverse, qualified and employment-ready talent to boost employment and prosperity in the city region.

“I’d like to thank our partners and training providers for their support and the important role they have played in reaching this milestone.”

Joanne Roney, Greater Manchester's Chief Executive lead for skills and apprenticeships, said: “More than 10,000 people have already benefitted from the Skills for Growth programme, which is something we’re very proud of. Empowering people to realise their career goals, whilst providing local business with a talented workforce is a major priority for us. I’m excited to see more businesses and residents take advantage of the opportunities available through the programme.”

One of GMCA’s key partners, The Growth Company was commissioned as part of the Skills for Growth programme to deliver ‘Skills for Growth - SME Support’ – an expert consultation service giving businesses across the city-region the opportunity to access tailored advice to help up-skill employees and improve productivity. So far, 3,000 SMEs have been supported through this initiative.

Janine Richardson, Programme Manager, Skills for Growth – SME Support, said: "What a phenomenal milestone to achieve, reaching 10,000 participants across the Skills for Growth programme. We’re thrilled to have played our part by supporting over 7,000 employees from across a wide spectrum of ages, experience levels and sectors, covering Greater Manchester’s SME landscape. The collaborative mission continues as we strive to upskill employees, improve productivity and drive business growth." 

For more information about the training opportunities available in different sectors across Greater Manchester, head to our ‘live training programmes’.

Article Published: 20/02/2023 10:56 AM